What a night you stay-at-home lot missed out on!
We arrived to find tables strewn with maps and measuring apparatus (rulers and divider type things), and were sat down to an informative session on tide level calculation, interpretation of buoy light meanings, true and magnetic bearings, distance scales, latitude and longitude ….. etc. etc..
It was at about this time that some crew members started to display the first signs of nervousness.
Fully trained(?), we divided into three teams, each of which was charged with tackling the three exercises set for the evening. I confess that at this point that I became engrossed in the tasks at hand and thus neglected to take photographs, so you will just have to use your imagination (just like us) where necessary.
Task 1 for our team saw us being told that we were going from Williamstown to Portarlington, given some confusing information to help us to find out where we started from, and also the course and travel speed we were to use. We were told to mark our course on the map, and to explain how would we keep check on our progress, where would we be at 2300 hours, and what was the closest light we could see??
Oh! Did I mention that Leigh informed us we were doing this in the dark? We were then told to anchor west of Portarlington Pier, (still in the dark) and explain how we got there. Although some of our team successfully anchored, there had been a desertion or two at this point – but the dedicated remainder sailored on!
Task 2 seemed ok as we leisurely sailed at 5 knots from St Kilda to our favourite entrance at Werribee, when Leigh McNolty (a former friend) told us that fog had reduced visibility to 200 metres and that we’d better whip out our handy tools and find our way to the river entrance beacon.
Did we make it? Well here I am writing this report as evidence of our success!
Task 3 was under the stern gaze of Geoff Carroll, where we were encouraged to calculate - to the nanosecond - the latitude and longitude of a street corner at a bayside intersection (yes, the map did have water represented in one small corner!). I have to report that Geoff had left his cane behind (not “caned behind”) and that he managed to get a result from us without using all his training aids.
You can imagine how welcome we weary and drained sailors found the bountiful and tasty supper presented to survivors (the deserters having already made a detailed sampling of the spread).
Thanks Leigh and Geoff for your leadership, and thanks to all those who prepared for the evening and cleaned up afterwards. A great night indeed.